I think most people living in the United States are incredibly sick of this never-ending election season. The sickening, overt misogyny we are subjected to on a regular basis, which is perpetuated through the media, is particularly troubling. Why in 2016 do we have a presidential candidate that wants to upend hard won abortion rights, has been caught on tape talking about women like they are stupid sexual objects, and who debates an overqualified female presidential candidate by calling her a “Nasty Woman?” Fundamental women’s rights in Europe and the states have been under attack by conservative government forces in the years since the War on Terror brought economic crisis and destabilization. What is it about a woman’s right to choose what happens to her own body that frightens patriarchal systems so much?
According to UNWOMEN.ORG, one in three women experience physical or sexual violence mostly by an intimate partner. They also note that women who have been physically or sexually abused by their partners are more than twice as likely to have an abortion and experience depression. In some regions, women are 1.5 times more likely to acquire HIV, compared to women who have not experienced [intimate] partner violence. Worldwide, fifteen percent of women die from pursuing unsafe abortions, meaning those anti-abortion laws that claim to protect the mother and child are actually killing them.
I know people reading this might say to themselves, “Women have always been the victims of male violence,” but this argument doesn’t make it right; we must be careful not to normalize violence. Women aren’t having it anymore, and recent protests around the world have been such an inspiration. The more we fight against oppression, the more legislation gets passed, criminals get prosecuted, etc. I made Nasty Grrrl Baby in honor of all the women heroes who are standing up globally — often in perilous environments — to the powerful forces that seek to subjugate them.
Niki Singleton is a Canadian drawer, painter, and found material sculptor based in Brooklyn. Visit her website to learn more.